One thing that I do not write enough about is anxiety. I’m not talking about the little anxieties that everyone gets now and again, like cold feet before a wedding or butterflies before a job interview. I’m talking about the anxiety that some of us have that is always present, pressing, and prominent. It’s the anxiety that stays with us in the back of our minds, always anticipating the negative. It’s that anxiety that always plans for the worst and analyzes every next step. Unfortunately, it’s the anxiety some of us are born with and cannot ever fully escape from…
Anxiety is the aspect of my life that I try to keep under control and hidden from the world. In fact, my anxiety about others knowing about my anxiety, well, gives me anxiety (haha). In all seriousness, my anxiety is a piece of my life that has always been present and always will be.
My anxiety goes way back, way before my periods even began. For instance, in the fourth-grade, I was diagnosed with GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and severe panic attacks. I was bullied a lot as a kid for this anxiety, constantly being called out for my panic attacks that I never understood. Even though this was only 15-ish years ago, anxiety and mental health were not talked about in schools. Teachers and staff were not trained to take care of students with panic attacks and were not adapt at helping us overcome our anxieties. I had to learn through therapy how to be my own advocate and how to overcome my panic attacks on my own. For the most part, I think I’ve succeeded: I am able to live my life, graduate from graduate school, talk myself down from major panic attacks to minor panic attacks, and handle daily life. Yet, there is always going to be anxiety in the back of my mind and it is never going to just disappear from my mind.
How Does Anxiety and Chronic Suffering Relate?
Some of you must be wondering, why is she talking about anxiety on a blog about endo/adeno? Honestly? I wouldn’t blame you for wondering that, and it’s probably why I don’t write about it enough. HOWEVER, there needs to be more conversation around the notion that chronic pain and suffering can cause or make mental health issues worse.
I may have been able to overcome a lot of my GAD, but my anxiety is still there and is still unmanageable some days. Those days often intercept with my periods or pain days, where I get so frustrated with my Endo/Adeno issues that I worry about my future. I wonder, “Am I ever going to meet someone understanding? Will I ever be able to have kids after all this suffering? Will I ever be ‘normal’? Would others treat me better or worse if they knew how much I suffer sometimes?”
But there’s also anxiety about doctors, treatments, and future planning. For those who have read my blog, you know about my story of living with chronic pain and being constantly on the search for a new doctor. Well, a few months back, I found a doctor is who very understanding and has several treatment ideas that go beyond hormonal treatments or iuds. In fact, he wrote me a list and said to call him when I decided what plan I wanted to go with.
Well, that list is in a folder in my desk and has not been opened since my appointment. In some ways, I feel that the folder is like Schrödinger’s cat: Until I do research, the list is either very good or very bad for I do not know what the research will say. Part of me wants to try a treatment out and is anxious about doing a new treatment regime. Yet, the other part of me is anxious about doing any treatment plan because I could make my life worse than it currently is as I’ve had no luck with other treatments.
And therefore, as this long stream of consciousness, I am left at a fork in the road. Both roads lead to the future but bring along anxiety for the journey. Both roads also leave me with the question: how am I better off? To do nothing and stay the same, losing the risk of being worse off. Or, am I better off trying a treatment for the potential it will work.
For now, I have decided to leave the cat be. Sometime this month I want to finally face the research and finally start a treatment plan. But until then, I must continue to work towards overlong coming the anxiety from both sides.